Dynamic Message Signs around the state are reminding drivers to "Look twice for motorcycles." By Jennifer Toth ADOT Deputy Director of Transportation
May 2014 is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and this topic is more important than ever.
Fatal and serious-injury crashes involving motorcycles are on the rise. In 2012 there were more than 4,950 fatal motorcycle crashes on our nation’s roads and highways, accounting for 15 percent of total fatal crashes in the United States, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). All drivers need to "Share the Road" with motorcycles.
Arizona is mirroring this troubling trend. As the chart at left illustrates, numbers for fatal and serious-injury motorcycle crashes have remained steady or increased during the past eight years, except for calendar years 2009 and 2010 when Arizona and states across the nation experienced overall decreases in annual “vehicle miles traveled” (VMT).
Reversing this trend – and protecting and saving lives – requires a combination of safe riding practices by motorcycles and a commitment by all drivers to “Share the Road.” For All Road Users
- Remember: A motorcyclist has the same rights, privileges and responsibilities as any other motorist on the roadway.
- Give a motorcyclist a full lane width to maneuver safely.
- Always look for motorcycles by checking your mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes. Motorcycles are smaller and more difficult to see, so keep an eye out.
- Allow more distance – three or four seconds – when following a motorcycle. This gives the motorcycle rider more time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
- Obey all traffic laws and be properly licensed.
- Wear a helmet and use reflective tape and gear to be more visible. NHTSA estimates helmets saved the lives of 1,617 motorcyclists in 2011.
- Never ride while impaired or distracted—it is not worth the risk of killing or injuring yourself or someone else.
For extensive motorcycle safety information, visit the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety website